Barcelona came from behind to beat Real Sociedad on Wednesday. Jordi Alba scored a wonderful equalising goal while Pedri made a game-winning clearance, and Ronald Araujo had one of the performances of his career. The three players spoke in the post-match interview.
Alba believes that his team played its best game of the season:
“Today we played against a great team, and we had a desire to win. We knew it was going to be a tough match against one of the best teams this season.Jordi Alba | Post-match interview
“This was the best game we have played all year long. It’s difficult to play without an audience but the attitude has been very well.”
It has been a tough year for everyone. The club has suffered economically, but also sportively without the fans this year. This comeback is the first one that Barcelona have made since February, and the spirits might be more cheerful at Camp Nou right now.
When asked about his top-notch goal, with all humbleness, the left-back told that his strike came by luck, and that he prefers assists.
“I’m happier when I make key passes and give assists than when I score, but scoring is always great.Jordi Alba | Post-match interview
“The goal that I scored comes once every 100 shots.”
After the veteran made his points, Pedri had his say. The youngster saved his team from conceding the equaliser with a crucial last-man tackle inside the box. After his intervention, Pedri hit the post and came off for Miralem Pjanic. However, the 18-year-old told that his substitution was not related to the blow and that he would continue playing if it was up to him.
“I’m very happy to help the team. I think the team played a great game today. If we continue playing like this we will get results.Pedri | Post-match interview
“The sub wasn’t related to the blow. I would have continued running for the team and help if it were up to me.”
Pedri’s challenge means much more than just helping the team. The youngster saved his side and could have gotten a bad injury from hitting the goalpost. Also, the way he tracked back was unbelievable. His mentality is exactly what the Catalan club needs nowadays, and it looks like he has already secured his starting spot under Koeman.
Finally, Ronald Araujo spoke after his brilliant performance. After a month out because of injury, Araujo came back better than ever. This win symbolises the Uruguayan’s importance in the team. The 21-year-old was asked about his experience playing alongside Oscar Mingueza, another La Masia prospect.
“This game was very important. I’m very happy with the win, and what the team has shown.Ronald Araujo | Post-match interview
“Mingueza and I know each other very well from Barça B.”
It looks like the two youngsters will soon become the main centre-back pairing in the future. They replaced Clément Lenglet and Gerard Piqué perfectly. As many have been criticising Barcelona’s transfers lately, La Masia is still key, and that’s where the future is — not in record signings.
As things stand, Real Sociedad are level on points with Atlético Madrid. If Barça win their two games in hand, they will be on the same amount of points as Los Txuri-Urdin. Winning this game against an excellent side, will do a world of good for the Catalan club, especially after falling against Real Madrid, Atlético and Juventus.
Quotes attributed via Spor Smart’s live post-match stream
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.